Is it possible that some people are just not “made to be runners”?
This was a quote one of our club members posted on their Facebook timeline this afternoon.
I have asked myself this or similar questions in the past. It is so easy to get caught up in the numbers. The times, the distances, the weight, the inches. It is so frustrating to see other people seemingly change and conquer overnight. They eat what they want and drink like fish and still set PR’s seemingly every time they go out. It is easy to blame genetics and say they were just “made to be runners”.
But I think, while genetics does play a role in how successful you are as a competitive athlete of any kind. We are all capable of being runners. We are all “made to run”. I, for example, am not your typical “runner”. Legs like stumps. Cows instead of calves. Upper body like a cave troll (and thick head to boot). Is that the definition of runner? Rugby player, maybe… but not “runner”. But do I run? Absolutely. Do I love it? You bet. Am I “made to be a runner”?
No. But I made myself into one anyway. As I started running again after a 10 year hiatus due to a horrific back injury, I wondered if I would ever be a runner. I wondered what defined a runner. Was it miles? As I went from one mile to five to ten to a marathon, I still wondered. The marathon nearly took me out of running for good… again. Another year off due to a fractured pelvis had me wondering if I was a runner because I couldn’t run marathon distance… does that define a runner? I guess it kind of does. If that is what you believe.
There is only one person who can truly “make you” a runner.
Not genetics or god or your spouse or personal trainers or Dr. Phil. Just like anything else in life, the only way you are going to do it is if YOU want to. If YOU think it is the right thing to do. YOU make the runner. Don’t believe me? Watch this. His doctors told him he could never run again:
The point is, we can be just about anything we choose to be. And YOU define what a “runner” is by how hard you work and by the choices you make. And running is a brutal sport in that there is nobody but you to credit when you succeed… and nobody to blame if you fail.
I love this image:
It cracks me up because it is so true. When I am really into a run I feel strong and powerful. It’s effortless. I’m in total control. However, having seen several pictures and videos of me when I’m “really into it”, I do look more like the dog. Floppy, crooked, saggy and barely in control.
Does that mean I’m not a runner?
No. It means I’m giving it all I’ve got. Total effort and focus on being as good as I can be in that moment. And it doesn’t matter to me whether I am at the pointy end of the pack or DFL, I’m still being the best runner I can be at that moment.
I guess it all boils down to what your personal definition of a runner is. Is it that flyboy or girl smoking down the trail like a gazelle making 6 minute miles look easy? Is it that muscular stud or studette that makes us either aspire to never eat again so we can look like them or find the nearest potato sack to crawl into out of shame? Or is it you when you look in the mirror. Comparing yourself to no one else but yourself. Striving every day to be a little better or go a little farther because you WANT to.
My definition of a runner is simple. It’s anyone who WANTS to run and does it because they choose to. Because they enjoy it. Because they think it is a beautiful sport and it makes them feel good inside and out.
I’ve said this a million times. Extremely few of us get paid to put ourselves through the agony we choose to call exercise. And yes, those people ARE genetically predisposed to greatness. So why do we do it? Those great runners still lace their shoes up just like we floppy, slobbery Bassett Hounds do. We all hit the trail or the street as hard as we can. And whether or not we run 15 minute miles or 5 minute miles, we are all “made to be runners” because we choose to run.